Jailed rapper Shyne's impending court case has been put on hold after his judge stepped down, claiming a link to the hip hop star's defence team.
Justice Howard Ruditzky admitted on Monday (20MAR06) that one of his relatives was an acquaintance of the rapper's attorney, the New York Post reports.
Belize-born Shyne, a former protege of superstar Sean Combs, is serving a ten-year sentence for his part in a 1999 New York club shooting that left three people wounded. Sean Combs and his then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez were also involved, but fled the scene.
Shyne, who has changed his name to Moses Michael Leviy, hoped to return to court soon to challenge a law forbidding convicts from making money from anything relating to their crimes, insisting he deserves to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in recording-contract advances.
Defence lawyer Oscar Michelen maintains any music profits his client makes have no link to the shootout.
He also adds that the victims who filed the suit prohibiting the rapper's financial gain may actually benefit from a new ruling - because the money could help to cover any settlement or jury verdict the plaintiffs are granted.